This past year has been strange and difficult in a lot of ways, but it’s also an opportunity to look at our lives before lockdown, and make sustainable changes moving forward. In the spirit of making changes, here are a few New Year’s Resolutions that can help you achieve a more sustainable life.
- Cutting Down on Packaging:
According to wrap.org, around 40% of plastic is used in packaging in the UK, and this generates around 2.4 Million tonnes of plastic waste per year. By cutting down on packaging, we reduce the waste we put into the world and reduce the amount of energy needed for packaging production. Things like reusable containers and bags are a great step forward, and these small changes make a big impact.
- Shop Locally:
By shopping locally, food miles are reduced. Out of season foods need to be imported, which is damaging to the planet, but locally sourced food that is in season is much better for the environment and sometimes cheaper. Shopping locally also benefits your local economy and helps you celebrate the local businesses and communities around you.
As highlighted in our local business blogs, the Canterbury Gift Card is designed to keep money in the local economy, the cards are recyclable and help local businesses and the communities around us.
- Cutting Down on Meat and Dairy:
You don’t need to be the perfect vegan to be environmentally conscious, though cutting down on animal products is a major step in reducing carbon footprints. Animal products provide just 18% of an average person’s calories but make up 83% of farmland, this majority also produces 60% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. More efficient forms of protein, like peas and pulses, produce less greenhouse gas per 100g of protein, and often take less space and maintenance. Cutting down on animal products is not always possible, but the small steps we take to lower our carbon footprint are achievements that matter.
- Engage in policy making
This year we are in a position to decide how the government, businesses and local communities return to life like before the corona virus pandemic. This year saw a reduction in carbon emissions in many places as travel and production reduced significantly; now as people leave their lockdowns and governments seek to restart their economies, we can insist that this restart begins with the environment in mind.
As always, voting, writing to your local council, and making your interests known is a great way of encouraging environmental action.
- Be kinder to yourself and others on their climate journey
It’s time we stop blaming climate change on individuals especially when just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of greenhouse gas emissions. While our impact is real and does matter, it is okay to be imperfect, to struggle or need support. Any progress to become more sustainable, even in the short term, is progress that should be celebrated. Take time to encourage yourself and others for the progress you have made, and keep pushing for governments, businesses and communities to focus on sustainable decision making. Being kinder to yourself means having a positive outlook on what you do, and chances are it’ll make it easier to keep up these new year’s resolutions making it easier to be kinder to our planet.
And that is just a few potential New Year’s resolutions heading into 2021. For more advice, information and events, consider following our social media and reading more blogs like this.
by Dan Johnson, SGO Project Officer #ActingTogether